When we love others sometimes we experience hurt. Perspectives and attachments such as betrayal and blown expectations can be devastating. And we tend to cling to the hurt. We poke at the wound as though somehow being reminded will “save us” from it happening again. But it doesn’t. It just causes us to suffer and robs us of our light.
When it hurts and you’re tempted to pick at the sore place in your heart, remember. This is the Home of the Beloved. The Beloved has dwelt there long before your birth and will never leave you. It’s never hurt you. Its Face is reflected upon anyone you’ve ever loved and those you haven’t. Even upon your own reflection.
Love this Beloved with the deepest abandon, as you’ve always wanted to. Let the hurt remind you your Beloved is there waiting behind the bruise. Instead of poking the pain, express your love to this Beloved. Let go of the pain and sink in the Love that’s there. Be healed, for the Light of the Beloved shines for you. Always. And live without fear.
Eckhart gives a brief insight deeper questions and answers… Who am I?
In places like this, in spiritual literature, in self-help media, we will encounter the word “ego” endlessly. Every time we encounter this word, if we’re able, it’s helpful to watch the reaction that arises within us to the words surrounding it. That is our own ego rising up and waving “hello”. It’s likely to try and assert its control over us and our reactions, and the way it will depends on the context it’s used in. Sometimes the reaction is self-satisfaction; a mental pat on the back. Other times it will rise up as self-righteous anger; a defence mechanism. It can us to draw closer to others, but will assure we remain steadfastly a separate entity. It can also cause us to lash out at others; again assurance we remain firmly rooted in our own little box of self-identity. Either way, it’s a self-defeating habit if we want to grow more deeply in spiritual understanding.
If we’re able to become aware of this as an observer and not an unconscious participant in the antics of the ego, we can become intimately familiar with it. It’s through this un-attached relationship that we can begin to watch it’s influencing dissolve. We will begin to see less of a need to react emotionally. We gain the insight into the illusory stories the ego writes to sustain itself in its position of control.
But this is not a curse. There’s no need to demonize it. What the ego does when it arises is presents us with a perfect opportunity. It shines a spotlight on hazardous and destructive mind-habits that keep us from any real understanding of who we are. It illuminates its own illusion.
When we realize this, and learn to embrace it as our own inner guru, our inner life will begin to experience a shift. We react less. We suffer less. We cling less. We experience less conflict. We have more clarity. We feel more peaceful. We experience a depth of effortlessness. We experience life more fully. Yes, the ego can work for us if we learn how to watch it and develop a conscious partnership with it. Give it a try.
The mind we’ve grown up with, as we’ve learned is it, is not our friend. Busy in thoughts of self-judgement, judgement of others, societal concerns, daily worries, it keeps us chained to a world of mental illusion. We remain incapable of untouchable peace and seeing the beauty of our own existence, of the effortlessness of simply being alive, except for a small sip now and then. As we move to deepen our understanding of this thing we call “me” it’s essential to remain aware of how subtle these old mind-habits are and how they will sneak back in when we’re not looking. It takes some perseverance, but never stop inquiring into this thing called “I” and it will lead you eventually out of it.
The hope lies in the emptying out of all we hold onto, beliefs, concepts, worries, and intellectual knowledge. The peace comes not in detaching, which implies force of will, but rather in the un-attachment which is the dissolving and surrendering of this self-imposed will.
“It appears that man has always escaped from himself, from what he is, from where he is going, from what all this is about – the universe, our daily life, the dying and the beginning. It is strange that we never realize that however much we may escape from ourselves, however much we may wander away consciously, deliberately or unconsciously, subtly, the conflict, the pleasure, the pain, the fear and so on are always there. They ultimately dominate. You may try to suppress them, you may try to put them away deliberately with an act of will but they surface again. And pleasure is one of the factors that predominate; it too has the same conflicts, the same pain, the same boredom. The weariness of pleasure and the fret is part of this turmoil of our life. You can’t escape it, my friend. You can’t escape from this deep unfathomed turmoil unless you really give thought to it, not only thought but see by careful attention, diligent watching, the whole movement of thought and the self. You may say all this is too tiresome, perhaps unnecessary. But if you do not pay attention to this, give heed, the future is not only going to be more destructive, more intolerable but without much significance. All this is not a dampening, depressing point of view, it is actually so. What you are now is what you will be in the coming days. You can’t avoid it. It is as definite as the sun rising and setting. This is the share of all men, of all humanity, unless we all change, each one of us, change to something that is not projected by thought.”
Those who desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without beginning and end, will walk together with greater intensity, will be a danger to everything which is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. They will concentrate. They will become the flame, because they understand.
Thank you Tao & Zen
I came across an explanation of the Buddha’s core message that humankind suffers that made everything clearer by author Peter Russell in the article, Not Resisting Resistance. To paraphrase, Russell explains that when you translate the terms used by the Buddha in his native tongue, Pali, a more concise picture is painted. The Buddha spoke of “sukha” and “dukkha” when referring to the common state of the mind.
The term “sukha” literally means “good axle hole”. It alluded to the need for a proper balanced axle hole in order for a wheel to turn with ease, without resistance, to give an easier and more pleasant journey. If the hole is out of kilter, the wheel doesn’t turn freely, meets resistance, and the ride becomes bumpy.
Which brings us to its counterpart, “dukkha”. “Dukkha” translates to “bad axle hole”. An axle that meets any form of resistance cannot turn with ease. It rattles. It shakes. It squeaks. It doesn’t give a pleasant ride at all. It makes it almost impossible for a passenger to relax.
So, considering these terms, we can see what the Buddha meant when he spoke of the resistance in the mind and how it causes a state of tension, a state of disharmony, a state of suffering. When our thoughts are thoughts of resisting an experience, a situation, or even ourselves and others, we’ve created a dukkha. The longer it persists, the less we are able to relax and the longer we experience a perception of suffering. When we stop this internal resistance, when we flow with life, we create the sukha and our journey becomes peaceful.
The Buddha knew and taught that the act of internal resistance is not our natural state of being. The discord it causes creates our mental and emotional suffering as we move through life. When the resistance is dropped, or when the experiences life brings are no longer met with resistance but accepted completely without judgement, we then are able to be at peace amidst any storm. We enter our natural state and simply flow with the rest of existence, with the wheel of life.
You have to experience the pain. Fully and completely. If you want to be liberated, if you want to be free of suffering, if you want to be awakened, self-realized, you must be courageous enough and willing enough to experience all of the pain and fear you harbor within you. You must surrender.
If you can be brave enough to take just a small step forward into that dark abyss of shadows you’ll find something unexpected. You won’t perish. With each step forward the shadows will abate with you.
The reason for this is startlingly simple. Each shadow of fear and pain you surrender to is nothing more than an illusion. The pain and fear are nothing but artefacts of stories you’ve been telling yourself your whole life. These are stories of who you think you are, who you think others are, things that happen to you or to others, or things you think will happen. None of them have any basis in Reality. They are purely subjective. Even who you perceive yourself to be is nothing more than a tall tale.
Some of these tales can be so time-worn and so lavish they appear quite real, but they’re not. Just as Alice and Wonderland and A Tale of Two Cities are such beautifully crafted works they seem to swallow you into another world that appears quite real, they are still just stories. Creations of an author but, even more importantly, they are creations of the reader.
Who is the reader of your own tales? I’m sure you can feel it there, reading every word of your sagas. If you sit with this reader for even a moment, experience it, you’ll discover that nothing has ever affected it. Not your emotions, not your thoughts, not your pain, not your fears. It simply sees the stories you create. A curious discovery, is it not?
As you walk ever farther into the darkness you fear with this new knowledge, the painful fear fades away because these things, these stories are not who you are. The one who sees, the one who reads these epic tales, is your true self. Pain has never touched you and fear is what has kept you from realizing it. Who you are is unborn and cannot perish. It was experienced when you took your first breath and will be until you take your last in this body. And it will remain ever after. It can’t be stained by the experiences of life. It is always pure.
Get to know this You that you haven’t met before. Hold it high before you like a torch as you progress through the abyss of all the pain and fear you’ve repressed and avoided. These are only whispers of a past that never really existed. The deeper you go, the brighter this torch will burn. It will burn away this dark clutter, and as it does, nothing but space remains. And this space is infinite. It’s not empty. Rather it’s thriving and teaming with life force. The pain will be consumed by it until nothing remains but blissful, effortless and expansive peace. Your heart, now unfettered with illusions, will throw its doors open to all life has to offer. Instead of fear, you will move through your life driven by a love so effortless and fearless nothing will ever hurt you again.
But you have to be willing to surrender, and surrender totally, even if it’s just one small step at a time.
Many of us feel the magnetic pull of something within us we can’t quite explain. There’s a question that looms larger and larger: Who am I? It’s becoming more insistent. We can all pull quite a long list of things out of our pockets, but intuitively we know our list isn’t answering the question.
Just try it. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” When you’ve exhausted your list, sit quietly for a moment. Do you feel that tug? Something is still asking, “But, who am I?” You can produce another list, things you may have forgotten: a man, a woman, a human being, an Earthling, a Christian, a Hindu, a mother, a father, a son or daughter, a neighbor, a friend, an accountant, a police officer, etc. But the tugging is still there. The question remains. Its inexhaustible.
Feel the pull. It’s there for a reason. Follow it. Dare to answer the question. At some point you’ll become bored or tired of creating with more adjectives. You’ll find you’re left only with, “I am….[silence]“.
If you look at the long list you’ve produced to search for something you may have forgotten, something will happen. You’ll realize what you’re looking at is a story. A story of who you think you were, are, or want to be. But the question is still tapping you on the shoulder, unanswered. And it wants an answer.
In exhausting yourself, however, you’ve made some beautiful discoveries. The story you’ve produced isn’t complete. If you can be honest with yourself, you know intuitively this story isn’t true. It was created by you. And it’s utterly false. You know this because You are reading the story. Who is this reader? Who is this You?
Welcome to the rabbit hole, Alice. You’re about to go on the grandest journey of your life. Without knowing it, you’ve already sipped from the bottle labelled “drink me” and you’re holding the golden key. On this key is a tag, and it say, “I am…”.
“I am…[silence],” the last answer to your long list of who you are is the white rabbit. Follow it. Follow it the with ceaseless curiosity of a child. But there’s one rule. Regardless how tempting your experiences and discoveries, no matter how wondrous, don’t touch any of them. Don’t sneak one into your pocket, for if you do, it will disappear into your story; the story which isn’t true.
Follow until “I am” begins to dissolve. Don’t worry. It won’t leave you alone and lost. It’s taking you home. “I am” will become “am”. You’ll feel your Self growing and growing until no house can hold you. Not even the house of your mind. But don’t stop. As long as you can see the rabbit’s tail, you’re not quite there.
Follow until “am” disappears. Nothing at all remains. Not even You. There’s only the infinitude of the Truth, fully aware. You have answered the questioned. The pulling has ceased. You are the living answer.
As you crawl out of the rabbit hole you’ll find that the fragrance of a vast abiding peace and love is all around you. Look for its source and find it comes from you. Eventually someone will ask you, “Who are you?” and you’ll find you can’t answer. There are no words because the living answer can’t be spoken. You can see it there in the eyes of the one who’s asking you; a curiosity ignited. You’ll probably choose a line or two from that story you’ve written your whole life to satisfy the situation. And that’s okay. You know the Truth. And we’re all a little mad here.